As I was wiping today, I realized just how much my life has changed. Discharge, I thought as I glanced at the toilet paper. I once was obsessed with it. Examining, touching, rubbing it between two fingers checking the consistency, hoping it would clue me in to my ovulation cycle. I’d once had a detailed discharge discussion with my cousin and my friend Jaimee (two separate conversations). Women chart these things. Actually take the time to download a template or create their own. They document their discharge with terms like “paste” and “egg whites.” I don’t need to do this anymore. Which got me to thinking of other anymores.
Of Linus and how I miss him profoundly. How he somehow stood as a symbol for my independence, how he was with me through everything, and now he’s gone. And I imagine him standing on his two hind legs, sniffing into the air with his cold wet nose in search of some food on a counter somewhere, or walking toward a window in search of a fly. And I miss him and the life I had with him in my bedroom with one green wall. I remember the conversations I had there, in that room. Coming home early from his place, needing to walk Linus, feed him, my self-serve dog. And hearing from him, that phone call, where he told me he’d rather not see me later that day as we’d planned just before I’d left his place. I remember what I was wearing. My pink shirt, the one that’s no longer pink because it was washed with Lucas’s blue overalls, and they bled. And now my favorite shirt isn’t anymore. And when we spoke I was still wearing my boots. Lying on my bed, boots still on, knowing I should have removed them, but they were “on the brown” (the plush espresso towel draped at the edge of the bed where Linus was permitted to chew a toy). And he called, and we spoke, him mostly. And then we weren’t anymore. I was in the same clothes I’d been in when he’d kissed me goodbye and lied, “see you later.” And I felt anxious and shit all day. I don’t miss that anymore, but somehow I still miss.
Linus is happy with Lea, and they both might be moving to Austin in August if she finds a job here. But once upon a lifetime ago, I was obsessed with Linus, with choosing a breed of dog, taking “what kind of dog is right for you?” quizzes. Obsessed with teaching him the “drop it” command. And then decorating. And photography. And Photoshop and then Photoshop upgrades and Mac repairs and backing up my hard drives with SuperDuper. Then my body and the gym and getting into shape. Designing handbags. Designing menus and cocktail concoctions. Then reading, new books. Movies, learning about film. Planning a trip, where to stay, when to go, where to eat. I live my life in small rounds of obsession. Cyclical. Missing what I’ve left behind, hoping to pick it up again, coming full circle, wondering as I revisit old how I ever left it behind.
This is not, surprisingly, how I feel about New York. I am a New Yorker. I love New York and some of its inhabitants. But I don’t miss it. Living there for thirteen years, in Manhattan, I realized it was the same. I hadn’t missed anything, only anyones. It was the same as it ever was, a Talking Heads of a visit, and it reminded me how thankful I am of my new adventures.
Though when I fall asleep at night it all runs through my head, the where I’ve beens. And in all the floating anymores that come into focus as I close my eyes, I remember going into labor, and my body constricts. I need to flip over and find a new position in bed. I still cannot believe I went into labor 10 weeks early, alone. And all I can think is, “Thank God I’m such a lazy shit.” Because had I been running around trying to exercise and keep active, I would never have forgiven myself. Still, I replay it. I know they’re happy and healthy now, but it doesn’t blunt the memory. I’m still scared of it, really. Still in disbelief. I went for the Advil the other day and thought, “I remember when I wasn’t allowed to have Advil.” Because I was pregnant. I wasn’t pregnant long enough, I also thought. And I can’t help but blame myself. Intellectually, of course I know there was nothing I could have done differently, and worry or thoughts like this aren’t productive with happy sweet beans here and now. But my mind works this way, turns over when I’m trying to sleep. And all the anymores are in the past, and it casts a faint tint of gloom, saying goodbye to so much. And this is what comes with motherhood: a string of new anyones and anymores.